Today our computer shut itself off. It just went black (the screen) and then it appeared to be trying to reboot but it just kept doing this clicking thing. So I got it restarted but then it kept trying to shut off again, but this time by going through the regular shutoff procedure. I opened the case and did a quick vacuuming and it was fine-for a few hours. Then it did it again-shutting down, complete with the "logging off" screen. So I opened it up again and did a more thorough vacuuming and it was fine again but a few hours it did the same thing again and just a few minutes ago, it shut off again-but this time it just shut down, black screen, and acted like it was trying to start up again. It doesn't appear to correspond with any certain website, program or anything like that. I did a full virus scan which found nothing and do a nightly spyware scan (although tonight it shut off during the scan now that I think about it) and have AV and Anti Spyware running full time. I have Windows XP sp3. My computer specs:
Dell Dimension E521 (about 3 yrs old)
AMD Athlon 64 x2 dual core processor 3800+, 2.00 GHZ
3 gb ram
Any ideas? thanks.
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When this happens, is the power button LED, solid green, blinking green, solid amber, blinking amber, or off?
Check the reading of Diagnostic Lights on the front panel.
The e521 Diagnostic Codes and Troubleshooter is HERE. <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
Also, check the event log/viewer in Administrive Tools.
Did you clean the heatsink's cooling fins and the air intakes in the front panel?
I cleaned the air intakes but I can't get my vacuum all the way in to clean the fins well. But I did run the vacuum right outside where the fins are (the ones that attach to the air intake right?). I'm not sure about the LED-I'll watch and record that when it happens again. There are errors in the event log-lots of different ones. I looked up a couple but didn't really find anything that was related to shutting down. I'll post again when/if it happens again with more info. thanks!
You need to open the case and clean the inside and the heatsink's cooling fins, for cleaning a computer, it's best to use canned compresed air, instead of a vacuum cleaner, this can be purchased from a computer store, or any Walmart. Please read the instructions prior to using.
The Dimension C521 Service Manual is HERE <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell> and should help locating the heatsink and cleaning inside the case.
Thanks. I did all that and I tried the fixes for the various diagnostic lights but nothing worked. I had several different combos of diagnostics. Also the power light was blinking yellow and green. It's completely messed up now-it just constantly starts up and shuts down over and over. About half the time or more it can't seem to start up so it just keeps trying over and over and once it finally starts, it shuts off. I'm just going to have to take it to a shop. My daughter needs it for her lessons so I need to get it fixed as quickly as possible. I sure hope Carbonite really does work in case the hard drive gets wiped out. I do have a laptop (which is what I'm using now but I hate it) and another desktop but we need all 3 for our schooling. Thanks for trying to help-I think it's way beyond what I can do on my own and I"m not really wanting to buy different parts that may not fix it.
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Replace your power supply. Power supply and related hardware for the CPU are a major cause of what "seem" to be software problems. Software issues will normally give you the same result every time. Hardware issues will normally produce different results for the same piece of hardware. If you replace your power supply and it solves your problem. Please return to this site and post a reply for resolution.